how much personal space needed?

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how much personal space needed?

Post by henryk-yonza » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:13 pm

When planning your shelter there may or may not be a lot of space to use.
In the western world we are used to have a lot of personal space.from private bedrooms as children
Too walk in closets for adults.
Realistically when building or buying a shelter you want the best for your investment.

Life is easier and maybe better when you have someplace to your self.
That's why so many frightened animals and people can be found in tight spaces, Under the bed, whatever.they den up

Should you maximize the common space for your members and minimize personal space?

How little personal space is possible and still be effective?
I think of a highway truck sleeper as a maximum personal space layout as an example at about 8 x 6 feet.
(Yes I know some sleepers are bigger)

How little space is required for couples? Should it double?

Are there any examples online?
(How much personal space do astronauts get on the international space station? How much did they get on mir or space lab? Bunks in submarines? Battleships? Crew quarters else where?)
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Re: how much personal space needed?

Post by Close_enough » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:36 pm

My first apartment was about 10x10, but shared a bathroom with one other and a kitchen with 10 other people. If we're talking about purely personal space (no kitchen or toilet, but storage for clothes and personal effects, non-communal items, queen size bed - I wouldn't go any smaller for two adults, and a desk) 8x10 is about as small as I would go. Double it (15x10) if we're talking about an efficiency apartment type arrangement with a kitchen and a bathroom. Half it (5x8, or about the size of a two person tent) if it's merely a place to sleep, dress, and store clothes and personal effects for one person. No matter what, a "my place" to retire to will greatly aid in mental health.

For floor plans, I suggest you look at motor homes and smaller (<30 ft) cruisers/auxiliary sail boats. For a large number of people, communal area takes priority over personal space. Think barracks where there is a place to sleep and dress only (bed and a locking storage chest), and the rest is common area. If you really, really want to go minimal, check out the "Periscope Project".

EDIT: What type of shelter are you talking about and what scenario? A subterranean shelter that can seal itself off for months at a time out in back of beyond? A basement tornado shelter/panic room? A Branch Davidian type compound for you and 150 of your closest buddies?

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Re: how much personal space needed?

Post by cv66er » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:51 pm

Navy coffin lockers. Storage under the matress for all you own. Pull the curtain (removed in this picture) shut, and you have all the privacy you need.


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Re: how much personal space needed?

Post by raptor » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:54 pm

My first home was a sailboat that I lived aboard. The amount of personal space I need is directly proportional to the people with whom I share space.

There are some people I know that 1000 acres of personal space is inadequate. There are others that a single bed is adequate. :wink:

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how much personal space needed?

Post by reppans » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:55 pm

6x12 ish would work for me if done right (ie, class B RV interior, SUV footprint), incl: toilet, shower, kitchen, lounge chair, dining table, couch, bed, garage (for bicycle & boat), etc. I would spend time outside when needing more personal space.


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Re: how much personal space needed?

Post by Halfapint » Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:26 pm

After living in a hammock for about a year, a backpack or two and a enough room to sleep is about all I require. However if we are talking disaster personal space, I'd like to have at least a 7x7 I'm 6' even so having a little space to lay flat would be desirable and a little extra room to store personal items.

Communal bathroom/kitchen is ok, and even with such a small area you could do some small amount of cooking. A small butane stove can fit in a small area and allow you to cook.
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Re: how much personal space needed?

Post by TacAir » Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:35 pm

Having lived in a 19 foot trailer for over a year, I would depends.

Is this a fixed site, need to be mobile and area (climate) are all factors you cannot overlook.

Layout is also a big deal. Which is to say (IMO) a 12 x 12 space offers more choices/options than an 8 x 18 space.

I had a nice little 17 foot RV, but sold it because pulling the couch apart every night became a real PITA. Anything more than a weeks stay would have been tough - no awning or outside shelter. ... ream-home/
A home for one @140 Sqft. Note the large, outside space - covered....

A good question raised is on having a partner along. I can get by on very little, but my wife must have a tub to bathe in - non-negotiable. Of course we have gotten by on less for camping, but I believe the OP is talking about living space. Someplace you will live for months, if not years.

So, I'd say ~200 sq is the least usable living space - for a well adjusted couple, raised in North America. YMMV.... ... in-wheels/
400 sq ft (14x28 ft )- more realistic space for two. Plug and Play - roll up and connect utilities, move in. Check the images at link. The large screened porch is part of the total space...
I looked hard & finally found a price - these start at $67K....

67 sq/ft with garden. Sorry - too close to fetid squalor for me....

Can you live here? Yes - people all over the world live in less.
Would I live here given a choice? No. Still, it is a small space.
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Re: how much personal space needed?

Post by Maast » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:24 pm

I think you'd be surprised at how small a space can be comfortable.

The trick is that it's YOURS and provides the illusion of privacy - even though there's nothing more than a sheet or a tarp between you and your neighbor.

In my last trip to the sandbox before I was retired sleeping space was at a premium. I forget how many of us were crammed into a 10 man tent but it was a lot more than 10 men.

Long story short - we each ended up with 7 x 5 space that was partitioned off by tarps with a narrow "hallway" going down the center of the tent. In that space I had my cot along one wall and a set of "shelves" made of MRE boxes glued together that held my misc stuff. The shelves were suspended to keep the critters out of my stuff with a plastic latching footlocker underneath for my clothes.
I lived like that for most of a year and was pretty comfy once I got a thermarest inflating foam filled camping mattress for the cot.
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Re: how much personal space needed?

Post by ineffableone » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:10 pm

In a study done for prisons decades ago, they found 8'X8' was the minimum personal space needed before the smallness started impacting the prisoners mental health.

Though of course this 8'X8' was quickly abandoned as space in prisons became more and more an issue. So they started doubling even tripling even quadrupling up in the space meant for just one person. Of course this 8'X8' concept deals with people who have no freedom, literally, and the impact of lack of personal space is amplified greatly by being a prisoner. That said if you are not a prisoner, and have larger communal spaces and the ability to seek solitude in places outside your personal space you can likely get away with a much smaller personal space.

I lived in an intentional community in AZ called Arcosanti. The architect was building a prototype city and one of the philosophies of the city was minimal personal space while maximizing public space. He also was very keen on multi use areas, so no area became abandoned and unused during parts of the day. The foundry where they made bells had apartments above it, the center of the community housed apartments, a store, the landscaping dept, the workshop/maintenance dept as well as being a large gathering place and spot for events.

This sort of system actually worked fairly well, and encouragement of communal space not only allowed for less private space but also fostered community building between the residents. Most people ate together in the cafeteria instead of cooking for themselves, people gathered in the community entertainment building to watch TV together, especially Simpsons. And on it went.

There were of course some difficulties with strong personalities from time to time, or people who failed to respect others boundaries, but in general the idea worked fairly well.

I am sort of dealing with this issue of how little space can I deal with myself, as I am looking at buying 20-40 acres of land this year. The original plan was to put a 30' yurt on the land which would give me a decently large open space to live in so I could take my time to build a house I really wanted to live in long term. However looking at land prices, yurt prices, and equipment I would want to buy immediately, as well as well drilling etc the price of a yurt and then the price to outfit it with all the necessities etc as well as building a platform for it while a nice idea just didn't seem overly feasible as all that cost would cut into all the other things I would need to start up.

So now I am looking at getting a 20'-27' travel trailer to live out of a year or two while I work on building a house or save up to buy the yurt (or maybe build a solid wall yurt from timber milled off the property). It a little annoying and adds another step or leaves me with a trailer I don't really want and is not perfect to live out of as well as at some point I will likely have to remove the trailer as I really want to limit the amount of junk and build up on the property. But if it gets me on land then it is something I can deal with. Especially since while a travel trailer might be a bit tight for living space, I would have 20-40 acres to call my own to also call my personal space. So I am looking at it less as a small space to live in and more as a way to get to a much larger space of acres of land. Also I can put the trailer into a garage with out needing permits, either by building one, or by getting a decent quality tarp type one. This can add some extra storage and space to the trailer as well as keep elements off the trailer and keep it from dropping too much in value so I can sell it off later.
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